No doubt about it, last night's Proenza Schouler show was one of the best collections of New York fashion week. I left the show space in far west Chelsea feeling like I had really seen something new and fresh and directional.
A 180 from their '50s architecture inspired collection last season, for fall Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez seemed inspired by Japanese armor--boxy jackets and low-slung kilts were made of stiff woven leather, tunic tops had breastplates in contrasting colors and big zippers up the sides. The design duo told Cathy Horyn at the Times that they were "interested in the idea of protection," and models stomped and turned corners so sharply it was easy to imagine they were part of some freakishly stylish special forces. While the first half of the show was hard and tough--jackets and kilts were done in materials so stuff they barely moved and in bold colors like maroon, navy, orange and stark white--the second half was softer and sexier. A silk mint colored cocktail dress with an origami-like pleated skirt and contrasting leather sleeves was to-die-for (and it came in an orange version, too). Then came floral Japanese prints on layered folded skirts, and embroidered birds on quilted varsity jackets (instant street style bait).
Proenza Schouler sure lives up to the hype.